I finally got sick of our power bill about a year ago and started using a kill-o-watt and a few other things to try to track down our usage. We have a lot of stock tank heaters than run for part of the year, and that had masked some things, but it was obvious there was a problem.
We changed two things and that cut our power useage in half across the board.
First, and most relevant, we began using our wood stove to dry clothing in winter, and a line in summer, instead of our electric dryer. That alone halved our power usage in almost all months - 3 farm kids and cloth diapers was really taking a toll on us that I didn't realize.
Second, and less relevant to most people, was sizing our stock tank heaters appropriately.
I was using 1000 watt heaters - I did some experimenting and found that 500 watt heaters worked just as well. Now I put one of each in the tank and plug in the 1000 watt heaters only if it freezes up (we got to -20 without windchill a few times this year). I'll be building passive solar tanks as well, but in the meantime I have to be sure I can water the animals in that kind of weather.
Thought that would be of interest here. We have done some small things here and there as well, but these were pretty simple to accomplish and have added up a lot already.
I got rid of my tank heater entirely. They were nothing but headaches. Rubber tubs for smaller animals, chopping lake ice for the cattle. Even in this COLD winter, once you learn where the water flows and the springs are--it isn't that hard to keep water open.
I had done a wood fired heater. It worked great, but spent more time on firewood than we did on chopping ice this year.
Only works if you have lake/creek access for most of your animals, though.
+1 on not using the dryer.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
You've happened upon one of the first principles of energy conservation....any time you use electricity to change something's temperature, up or down, it is much more consumptive than any other use....above pumps, fans, lights, and other electronics. Dryers, electric heaters, electric ranges, air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, and such like are the power hogs, and improving, downsizing, reducing, or eliminating their use will make big gains....
Alder Burns (adiantum)
posted 5 years ago
No running water in winter here. Pond access in several places, but it gets 2 feet thick at times.
I think we'll be able to go passive solar for all but a month or two without anything major but natural springs aren't an option.